Chvrches, 'Love is Dead' - Review
by Harry Mathieson
‘Love Is Dead’, the third album from Glaswegian synth-pop trio Chvrches, represents the group’s shameless attempts at penetrating the chart-friendly mainstream. However, by bowing to the demands of the average unengaged listener, they only end up sacrificing everything that once made them interesting in the first place.
It is true that Chvrches have never pushed themselves too far from the shores of accessibility. Yet, the naïvely charming grandiosity that defined previous albums has now been replaced with bland and hyper-compressed sugar-pop. The once forward-thinking arpeggiators that painted colourful canvases beneath Lauryn Mayberry’s impressive vocal range now sound dated and unexciting. Because of this musical regression Mayberry’s vocals have no earworms to hide behind, and the lack of emotional depth and reliance on clichés in her lyrics is laid bare.
Catchy hooks, the backbone of any good Chvrches song, are almost non-existent. It is hard to pinpoint any highlight from the homogeneity (‘Forever’, perhaps, with its glittering 80s synths and phased guitar leads comes closest). Instead, it is far easier to list the downfalls; lead single ‘Miracle’ is unpleasantly overdramatic, while just one listen to the mind-numbing chorus of ‘Never Say Die’ and you can almost feel your IQ levels plummet.
In short, Chvrches’ new album evokes the worst possible emotional response from music; boredom. ‘Love Is Dead’ is unadventurous, unexciting and, perhaps thankfully, completely forgettable within seconds of ending.